Check and Balance or Checkmate? – Part II

One obscure judge can issue a ruling that denies a President his duly authorized constitutional obligation to “faithfully” execute the laws passed by Congress in regards to illegal immigration.  One judge on the Supreme Court can re-define a term in a statute contrary to what its authors said it was and thereby foist upon the entire nation the catastrophe laughably known as the Affordable Care Act.  On, and on and on it goes, yet without any restraint being exercised by the Congress as a check against the overreach of judicial authority.  As pointed out in the previous essay (Check and Balance or Checkmate? – Part I) Congress has both the authority and the responsibility to impeach judges who refuse to abide within the Constitutional confines of their office, but they have seldom done so and even our founders such as Thomas Jefferson scoffed at impeachment as a reliable check against judicial overreach.

Robert Yates, a judge from New York and a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, became so upset with the deliberations of the other delegates that he left before the draft of the Constitution was completed and became an ardent opponent to the ratification of the Constitution.  Writing under the pseudonym “Brutus”, he authored one scathing essay after another on how abusive the judicial branch of the new government would become if the Constitution was ratified.  Herewith are just a few (and he wrote many more along the same line) of his warnings:

“They” [i.e., justices of the Supreme Court] “will give the sense of every article of the constitution, that may from time to time come before them.  And in their decisions they will not confine themselves to any fixed or established rules, but will determine, according to what appears to them, the reason and spirit of the constitution.  The opinions of the supreme court, whatever they may be, will have the force of law; because there is no power provided in the constitution, that can correct their errors, or control their adjudications.  From this court there is no appeal….

From these considerations the judges will be interested to extend the powers of the courts, and to construe the constitution as much as possible, in such a way as to favour it; and that they will do it, appears probable….

When the courts will have a precedent before them of a court which extended its jurisdiction in opposition to an act of the legislature, is it not to be expected that they will extend theirs, especially when there is nothing in the constitution expressly against it?  And they are authorized to construe its meaning, and are not under any control?

This power in the judicial, will enable them to mould the government, into almost any shape they please.”  (January 31, 1788)

I ask you – if I had not identified who authored these words and when, would you not have thought they were written by someone today for this is exactly what the judicial branch has done over and over again?  Truly, Yates – “Brutus” – was prophetic.  So, if impeachment is a “paper tiger” vis-à-vis judicial overreach, what can be done when such overreach occurs?  This will be our next matter to address.

-April 24, 2018

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America – Your Republic Lies in Ruins!

In Federalist 51, James Madison stated “Justice is the end [i.e., goal or purpose] of government.  It is the end of civil society.  It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.”  As we see the abuse of power wielded by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and perhaps others in the Obama administration over the fourth amendment rights of those involved in the Trump presidential campaign, we must demand that justice against those who mishandled their public trust be brought to justice, else, as Madison warns, liberty for all of us will be lost.

However, in trying to bring justice back to being the foundation of our government and our society, we must look deeper into how it was that justice came to be lost.  Baron Charles de Montesquieu began the opening of Part I, Book 8 in his monumental work, The Spirit of the Laws (published 1748), with these words:  “The corruption of each government almost always begins with that of its principles.” 

This then leads us to ask what principles within our government have been corrupted that led to its current state of corruption?  To answer this question we must return to the principle that motivated our founders to take that step for freedom and independence, namely that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  The import of this phrase is that all men are therefore to be treated equally, which is the essence of the concept of justice.

How then is justice for all to be achieved (as we say in the closing of our pledge of allegiance)?  This question was answered by Frederic Bastiat in his treatise The Law in 1850.  He posits the question repeatedly “What is the law?”, to which he consistently gave a one word answer:  “justice.”  Putting this all together we have the principle that justice can exist only when all men are treated as they were created, namely, equal under the law.  When those of a supposed “higher class” are given a pass for violations of law that others would suffer severe punishment, then the principle of justice has died and along with it the principle of a representative government.

Returning to Montesquieu, he went on to give this analysis of how to reverse this situation when it occurs within a republic:  “When a republic has been corrupted, none of the ills that arise can be remedied except by removing the corruption and recalling the principles; every other correction is either useless or a new ill” (Part I, Book 8, chapter 12).

How then are we to remove this corruption and return to our principle of justice?  To answer this question we must look at who has brought about this corruption.  In chapter 5 Montesquieu gave the answer:  “Aristocracy is corrupted when the power of the nobles becomes arbitrary; there can no longer be virtue either in those who govern or in those who are governed.”  Indeed, do not most of those in Congress, and especially in the higher levels of bureaucratic power, act aristocratically as though they are nobility?  This is what happens when those who are given the reins of power refuse to relent them to others and remain in office year after year.  Montesquieu continued, “Extreme corruption occurs when nobility becomes hereditary; the nobles can scarcely remain moderate.”  We claim that we do not have nobles and hereditary claims to the right of power and position, but when incumbency is the rule rather than the exception, and those serving in departments of the government make a career of it, then most certainly we do have a class of “nobility” that has become for all intents and purposes “hereditary”, and as a result, extreme corruption sets in.  Once this occurs Montesquieu states that “Corruption will increase among those who corrupt, and it will increase among those who are already corrupted.”

 If ever there was a time, then, to “drain the swamp” that has become our national government, it is now.  We as voters can do our part by voting our “nobles” and “aristocrats” out of their positions of power and encouraging their replacements to alter the laws so that those in these myriads of unconstitutional bureaucracies can be removed as well and their power over us be diminished.  The ruins of our republic can be rebuilt and rise like a phoenix out of the ashes, but the time is getting very, very short.

-February 9, 2018

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The Preamble VII – “provide for the general welfare” (Part II)

As I commented last week (The Preamble VII – “provice for the general welfare” (Part I)), the phrase “provide for the general welfare” has wrecked more havoc upon our country and put more of our liberties and freedom in jeopardy than perhaps any other clause in the Constitution (other than perhaps the “necessary and proper” clause).  As I shared then, those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution back in 1787-1788 argued that this clause would be ripe for abuse by future politicians to put in place anything and everything they deemed to be good for “the general welfare,” and that is exactly what has happened.

So how do we convince members of Congress today that they are way out of their constitutional bounds with much, if not indeed most, of what they have done in inserting the government into our lives?  The answer does not come from some lowly constitutional blogger such as myself – us “mere citizens” have no standing in the eyes of these scoffers at constitutional restraints.  No, I have a better witness to rebut them – James Madison, commonly referred to as “the father of the Constitution.”

As one of the three authors of The Federalist Papers, he countered the arguments of the Anti-Federalists regarding their alarms over this phrase in essay number 41.  In addressing the use of this phrase in the opening of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which contains the “enumerated powers” of Congress, he clearly defined the role of the phrase:

“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

In other words, Madison is stating that the particular, itemized powers that follow in Section 8 of Article I are meant to define, clarify and limit the extent of the general phrase “to provide for the general welfare.”  So when the question is posited as to what and how is the general welfare to be provided for via the general government, the answer is to read the list of limited powers that follow that were granted to the Congress.  Anything therefore outside of that list that Congress involves itself in is instead of providing for the general welfare is destroying the general welfare.  When excessive debt is accumulated to fund the myriad programs that are outside the purview of Congress’ authority, when programs rob individuals of their sense of personal responsibility and steal the personal property (of any kind) of citizens, that is not promoting the general welfare of the country but rather destroying that which made the early Americans unique, special and prosperous at its founding.

So then, just as we learned in our high school English classes in regards to writing a composition, you begin with a thematic statement that is broad and general that paints the full picture of what the paper is to be about, and then the rest of the following paragraphs develop, define and specify what is intended by that thematic statement.  Such then is the meaning, and proper use and application of the phrase “provide for the general welfare.” Or as James Madison might say – “General Welfare does not mean ‘Anything you want!’”

-January 19, 2018

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The Preamble VII – “provide for the general welfare” (Part I)

Perhaps no more abused clause in all of the Constitution is this one regarding the “general welfare.”  It has been the excuse for the national government to get involved in forcing citizens to save for retirement via the social security tax, to health care, to you name it.  The clause is repeated in the opening of Article I, Section 8, which is important as I shall point out in Part II on this topic.  Interestingly, when the southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, their constitution mirrored the US Constitution in many ways, but glaringly omitted any reference to providing for the “general welfare.”

To ascertain the meaning of this clause I will spend this and the next (or possibly two) essay(s) taking a look at how the founders viewed this clause and how they explained it’s meaning.   As I have pointed out in the beginning of this series on the Preamble, merely including this clause in it does not give any authority to Congress to do as they please in matters they determine to be for the “general welfare” as a preamble in not part of the Constitution as far as granting authority, but merely an introduction as to the purpose for those things enumerated within the Constitution.

This general welfare clause and the fear of its potential for abuse was one of the reasons those known as the “Anti-Federalists” opposed the ratification of the Constitution.  The first witness I set before you is the author known by the pseudonym “Centinel”, who wrote the following on October 5, 1787:

“The Congress may construe every purpose for which the state legislatures now lay taxes, to be for the general welfare, and thereby seize upon every object of revenue.”

Consider our situation today – how much of our income does Congress “seize upon” in taxes to provide for all of the programs it deems to be for the “general welfare” yet not authorized in the Constitution?  Does not Centinel’s warning ring true?

The next witness to warn about this phrase was the outstanding Anti-Federalist known by the pseudonym “Brutus.”  He had much to say about the potential for abuse of all three branches of government, and he has pretty much proved to be a prophet with unerring accuracy.  Herewith is some of what he had to say about this clause in his essay number VI, written on December 27, 1787:

“It will then be matter of opinion, what tends to the general welfare; and the Congress will be the only judges in the matter. To provide for the general welfare, is an abstract proposition, which mankind differ in the explanation of, as much as they do on any political or moral proposition that can be proposed; the most opposite measures may be pursued by different parties, and both may profess, that they have in view the general welfare; and both sides may be honest in their professions, or both may have sinister views…

It is as absurd to say, that the power of Congress is limited by these general expressions, “to provide for the common safety, and general welfare,” as it would be to say, that it would be limited, had the constitution said they should have power to lay taxes, etc. at will and pleasure. Were this authority given, it might be said, that under it the legislature could not do injustice, or pursue any measures, but such as were calculated to promote the public good, and happiness. For every man, rulers as well as others, are bound by the immutable laws of God and reason, always to will what is right. It is certainly right and fit, that the governors of every people should provide for the common defence and general welfare; every government, therefore, in the world, even the greatest despot, is limited in the exercise of his power. But however just this reasoning may be, it would be found, in practice, a most pitiful restriction. The government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good; and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always, judge for themselves.”

 It is very apparent, is it not, that the fears of these two founders regarding the abuse of this clause by those who were to come after them to justify the expansion of the power of government and the diminishment of individual liberties has indeed come to fruition?  So, what was the response by those who argued in favor of the adoption of the Constitution?  We will examine James Madison’ response in the next essay.

-January 12, 2018

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Constitutional Relevancy?

This past Sunday, September 17, was the 230th anniversary of the conclusion of the Philadelphia convention of 1787.  Upon the conclusion of the convention, as he was leaving “Independence Hall”, the aged Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well Doctor Franklin, what have you got for us?”, to which he replied, “A republic madam, if you can keep it.”  Actually, what he and the other delegates to the convention had given to their fellow Americans and us, their descendants, was a constitutional republic.

Yet, this week, we must ask, “After 230 years, are we still a constitutional republic?  Is the Constitution still relevant in our day and time?”  To these two questions I would answer with a resounding “No”!  Consider the following (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy):

If the party in power can use secret courts to get an order to wiretap and spy on their opponents with no repercussions, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If government agencies can plant applications on the computers of reporters who are reporting on governmental malfeasance and tap their phone conversations (e.g., James Rosen and Sharyl Attkinsson), thus violating both the first and fourth amendments, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If the government records the conversations and all electronic communications of every citizen in massive meta-data fusion centers, again violating the fourth amendment, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials constantly create unconstitutional agencies and empower them to act as legislator, executor and judge over your property, business and personal affairs, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials listen more to those who fill their campaign coffers instead of their constituents, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If certain officials in high positions of power use their position to influence policies and negotiations with foreign powers to grossly enhance their financial well-being at the expense of the liberties and security of the rest of the country (e.g., Hilary Clinton), with no fear of prosecution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials and even members of the Supreme Court have no inkling as to the tenets of the Constitution, even mocking it (e.g., Nancy Pelosi’s response regarding the unconstitutionality of “Obamacare”), you might not live in a constitutional Republic.

If the government routinely eschews the limitations imposed upon its authority by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

I could go on and on with these, but I think it’s a sufficient number that you get the picture.  Our elected (and unelected) government officials pay lip service to the Constitution they take an oath to uphold and defend, but they seldom live up to that oath.  So, is our Constitution relevant today as to the operation of our national government?  I think, sadly, the answer is rather obvious.

-September 22, 2017

 

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The First Amendment and Social Media

Lately there has been much criticism levied at social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., and companies who have censored certain postings or statements made by individuals (or employees in the case of employers).  I have heard many conservatives claim that these sites and employers are violating the first amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and think that the government should step in and do something about it because those being censored are political conservatives.  Such criticisms and allegations regarding violations of the first amendment are completely off base.

Do I like that conservatives are censored in this manner?  Absolutely not.  Do I think such censorship is a violation of the first amendment?  Again, absolutely not.  The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”   This guarantee is unambiguous – it is a prohibition against Congress from censoring speech and the press, not private companies such as social media sites and employers.

Conservatives who make this charge need to pause and reflect upon what they are asserting.  They are in effect appealing to the government to force a private company and/or employer to allow individuals who use the companies’ services or who are employed by them to permit their preferred form of expression.  Constitutionalists should understand that the government has no authority under the Constitution to do any such thing.

It is hypocritical for conservatives to make this complaint and appeal to the government while at the same time arguing that the government has no authority to tell bakeries they must provide a cake for a gay wedding or that the government has the authority to tell a company or individual what they can or cannot do with their private property, and so forth.  You cannot argue on the one hand for the government to interfere with a private entity’s business operations when it goes against your preferences while at the same time telling it that it has no authority when it interferes in matters that go against your principles.  That old adage of “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” comes to mind, does it not?

Again, please do not think I applaud the censorship of these firms; I do not.  I find them to be hypocritical as well and cowardly as they cannot handle honest dialogue and debate.  However, as one who believes in trying to consistently adhere to our constitutional principles of limited government and individual right to self-determination, appealing to the government in this case is a slippery slope we as conservatives and constitutionalists do not want to go down.  The solution is to turn to other venues of service, if possible, and if not, to not use them.  Difficult to do and most likely not a successful alternative, but if you cherish the thought of limited government as well as non-governmental interference in your private affairs, this is the position you must regrettably take.

-September 15, 2017

 

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Infrastructure and the Constitution

We hear much these days about the need for Congress to pass an “Infrastructure bill” in which the national government will spend billions upon billions of dollars to repair roads and bridges of all types in cities and states across the country.  There’s only one teensy weenie problem with this – it is completely unconstitutional.

Are our roads, bridges, airports, et al, in dire need of repair?  Absolutely.  So what’s the issue with this “good intention” and the Constitution?  Simple.  The only reference to roads in the Constitution is found in Article I, Section 8, which states that “Congress shall have Power to…establish Post Offices and Post Roads.”  We no longer have roads designated as “post roads”; interstate highways, bridges, train trestles, airports and the like do not qualify for federal funds under the Constitution because they are clearly not defined to be “post roads.”

Yet, those wanting to pass this bill, including President Trump, will claim that this is for the “good” of the country – that such spending would fall under the guise of providing for the general welfare.  To this I say, “Baloney.”  Airports, bridges, highways, interstates are not part of the “general welfare” clause of Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, and I have no less than James Madison, the “father of the Constitution”, as my authority on that.  In The Federalist #41, he wrote:

“Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

 In other words, the general phrase “general welfare” in the opening clause of Article I, Section 8 is defined and limited to the enumerated items that follow in the remainder of the article, and the only roads authorized to be established (and therefore paid for) by the federal government are “post roads.”

Furthermore, in 1822 Congress passed a bill to repair the Cumberland Road that had been built using federal money under President Jefferson’s administration.  Initially the road was used as a “postal” road, but later came to be more like our modern-day interstate highways, with the states putting up toll booths, etc. on it.  So, when this bill reached the desk of President Monroe, he vetoed it as being an unconstitutional appropriation of taxpayer money.  In his veto message to the House of Representatives he stated:

“Having duly considered the bill entitled “An act for the preservation and repair of the Cumberland road,” it is with deep regret, approving as I do the policy, that I am compelled to object to its passage and to return the bill to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, under a conviction that Congress do not possess the power under the Constitution to pass such a law.

 A power to establish turnpikes with gates and tolls, and to enforce the collection of tolls by penalties, implies a power to adopt and execute a complete system of internal improvement. A right to impose duties to be paid by all persons passing a certain road, and on horses and carriages, as is done by this bill, involves the right to take the land from the proprietor on a valuation and to pass laws for the protection of the road from injuries, and if it exist as to one road it exists as to any other, and to as many roads as Congress may think proper to establish. A right to legislate for one of these purposes is a right to legislate for the others….”

 Clearly, then, any kind of an infrastructure bill is unconstitutional.  What then can we do?  Have the states pay for the building and repair of these roads, structures and entities, or follow the advice of Present Monroe who gave this answer at the end of his veto:

“Having at the commencement of my service in this high trust considered it a duty to express the opinion that the United States do not possess the power in question, and to suggest for the consideration of Congress the propriety of recommending to the States an amendment to the Constitution to vest the power in the United States,…”

This, I understand, is a harsh stance, and federal money has been spent in this manner for decades and decades and is a “good” thing; but, as stated by an unknown Federalist author in the Alexandria Gazette on July 5, 1819:

“”[The] peculiar circumstances of the moment may render a measure more or less wise, but cannot render it more or less constitutional.”

-September 1, 2017

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US Representative’s Job Description

Being a manager in Human Resources over the years, I’ve had many occasions to create job descriptions. I was prompted to think about this the other day when I heard Representative Maxine Waters proclaim that her only reason in running for re-election in 2018 was to continue to pursue the impeachment of President Trump.  So, with my professional background, allow me, Representative Waters, to tell you what you and your colleagues’ job description is per the Constitution.

Most would probably say that the job of our representatives in Congress is to pass laws.  After all, the Constitution plainly states that they comprise half of the national legislature, and legislating involves writing laws.   True, that is the meaning of the term “legislate”, and that is the part of the government to which the Constitution assigns them; but I’d rather they spend time unwriting laws, abolishing regulations and de-authorizing the myriad of departments and agencies they’ve created over the years that have no foundation within the Constitution!  The preacher in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes concluded by stating a truth “amened” by every student, namely that “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”  If he were to write that today in view of our Congress he could well have said “Of making laws there is no end, and much regulation wearies the citizenry.”

Though some laws are necessary to the preservation of a civil society and the liberties of its citizens, I would submit that such is not the primary duty in a congressional representative’s job description.  Instead I would point to the last phrase in the first amendment to the Constitution:  “…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why would the founders have felt the need to add this to the Constitution?  We need look no further than to our Declaration of Independence, for that is exactly the purpose for which it was written and submitted to the British Crown, but to no avail.  The founders had languished under the tyranny of a ruler who brushed aside their petitions for redress, so they wanted to make certain that in the new government they were crafting there would be a mechanism to preserve that ability and right of the people.  So just what is that conduit that is available to us whenever we feel the government has overstepped its authority and is threatening our liberties to seek redress if it is not through our representatives?  Is that not the very meaning of the term “represent”?  Just who are they representing?  Us, their constituents.  To whom are they representing us?  Is it not the national government?

No, no Maxine, your purpose in running for the office of Representative is not to “Impeach 45” (unless he has committed offenses that threaten our liberties, which he has not), but to be the mouthpiece for your fellow citizens when they feel they have been harmed by the government.  Lord knows you have a mouth – you just need to use it for the purpose for which your office intends.

-August 11, 2017

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What Can Be Done with Felonious Members of Congress?

In 1989 when the Exxon oil tanker Valdez ran onto the Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef in Alaska and polluted the waters along 1,000 miles of Alaskan shoreline because its captain was drunk, protestors took to singing a parody of this old children’s song:   “What do you do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?  Make him captain of an Exxon tanker.”

The question could be raised similarly about what do you do with a felonious, and perhaps traitorous member of Congress?  Well, for the Democrats, you place them in positions of leadership (at least until the member’s actions become known widespread).  By now I’m certain most, if not all, of those reading this have heard the reports of how Democratic Representative and former head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, hired Muslim individuals to be her IT technicians. These technicians had access to hers and a number of other Democratic Representatives’ computers and who knows how much sensitive data in our government files.  These same individuals defrauded us taxpayers and one was even caught trying to flee the country.  We now learn that Congresswoman Schultz continued payments to him and some of the others after they had been blocked from having access to the House computer network and could not perform the work for which they supposed had been engaged.

So what can be done with members of Congress who act so egregiously?  There’s the standard answer – vote them out of office.  Yet as someone who twice attempted in the primaries to oust a long, long-term Congressman , that is seldom done as they have too much money, influence and too many connections.  However, there is another way, but it takes more political courage than those sitting in Congress seldom exhibit.

Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution contains this remedy:

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.”

I would say that Congresswoman Schultz’s actions certainly meet that rather low bar of “disorderly Behaviour” wouldn’t you?  There should be an immediate appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate her actions, and when all is brought forth, the other members of Congress should expel her.  But we all know that will never happen because far too many of those in Congress could also fall into similar condemnation.  After all, there is that long-standing principle of “Honor among thieves” in play with members of our Congress.  Would that we’d just have a smattering of pure, plain old “honor”.

-August 4, 2017

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Income Taxes and Bridal Dresses

It has just now come to light that a few months ago, in Garland, Texas, 20 armed IRS agents swooped down upon a mom-and-pop bridal store owned by two elderly immigrants from Thailand and seized their entire inventory and equipment for alleged unpaid back income taxes.  The designer dresses, valued at around $615,000 were sold for pennies on the dollar along with other assets such as sewing machines, a flat screen television, game console as well as the hat of Vietnam Veteran customer who had left it there to have some patches sewn on.  The total net take for the IRS:  around $17,000!  As a result, this elderly couple is left destitute and out of business after 34 years of operation.

The authority upon which the IRS relied in this robbery is 26 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 301.6335-1, “Sale of Seized Property.”  Note that this is not a law passed by the national legislature (Congress), but rather is part of the 80,000+ pages of “laws” promulgated by an unelected bureaucracy (IRS) which has both written “laws” (i.e., regulations) – a legislative act, interpreted how to apply these “laws” – a judicial act, and enforced these “laws” – an executive act.  Clearly no separation of powers as designed by our founders in the Constitution.

Citizens of the United States are guaranteed the right to protection against such acts by our government:   “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (4th Amendment, US Constitution).

According to news reports, the IRS did obtain court authorization upon their presentation of an affidavit, but the broader question is “Was this ‘reasonable’?”  If you read the complete set of guidelines of the CFR I referenced above, it appears the IRS violated its own protocols.  Not only this, but in seizing some of the non-clothing items they seized items outside the court’s authorization, especially the hat that belonged to someone not involved in the tax dispute.  If you or I do that, it’s called “theft of personal property” and we go to jail!

What is more outrageous is the speed with which this was carried out.  According to the CFR there is supposed to be at least a ten-day period between serving notice of the pending sale and the commencement of the sale; but if the IRS believes that the items to be seized are “in jeopardy” of losing their value, the items can be sold immediately without any further due process.  Designer bridal dresses “in jeopardy” of losing their value??  Seriously – weddings are going to cease and the dresses be of no worth unless disposed of immediately?

Clearly this action by the IRS costs us taxpayers much more than what they recovered by the sale of these assets.  Furthermore, the tax returns for the years in question indicate that the couple had a carryover of a net operating loss, and thus no taxes would have been owed.  Also, a memo written by an IRS supervisor obtained via the Freedom of Information Act issued a directive to agents to “shut down this failing business.”  If freedom is to be preserved, this insidious income tax and the agency it gave birth to must go.

We are no longer free my fellow Americans.  Unelected bureaucrats in these unconstitutional agencies (admittedly the IRS was created to enforce the 13th amendment) tell us what we can do with our property (EPA), what products we can produce (Dept. of Commerce), how much people must be paid by employers (DOL), how we are to obtain health care and related insurances (HHS), and how much disposable money from our earnings we’re allowed to keep (IRS).  The government, via these bureaucracies, control our property, our businesses, our health and our incomes, and our representatives in Congress do nothing to stop them.  You tell me – if the government controls these critical aspects of our lives (and there’s more), then how is it we can consider ourselves to be “free”?

-July 14, 2017

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